Disclaimer: I was lucky enough to be selected to participate in the Telstra Windows Phone 7 HTC Mozart Social Review program. The opinions below are mine and mine only, and do not reflect those of Telstra or HTC  (or RipTen). I recieved my HTC Mozart completely free of charge.

About a week ago I was lucky enough to actually have some hands on time with the HTC Mozart at the local Telstra store; however I didn’t think I’d ever be able to purchase one. I went back home and looked at going on the $49 Monthly Cap but luckily enough I saw the Social Review, signed up, and got accepted.

After having the device for just less than 24 hours, I am blown away. From the sleek responsive interface, to the amazing functionality and even just the small things like the Facebook app, it’s all culminated to make an amazing device.

Hardware

After using the Nokia E63 for the larger part of a year, the HTC Mozart is a big hardware leap for me. First and foremost, the 800×480 multitouch display is amazing. Responsive, bright and crisp to the eye, it’s something I just love playing with. There’s 8GB of inbuilt storage, however it is non-upgradable. This isn’t a big deal to me, but it might be to some consumers who have large music databases or heaps of video content.  Something that negates the low inbuilt memory is the ability to upload all your images to Skydrive, then you can just download them whenever you want.

There’s an inbuilt 8MP Camera with a Xenon flash (Essentially makes colours look more lifelike instead of washed out like LED). Something myself and a number of other reviewers love is that the Camera button actually works all the time. So no longer will you miss that happy snap of your mate throwing up in the garden after a bender!

Below the touch screen is three touch sensitive buttons – Back, Windows and Bing. All of these are pretty self explanatory, and I love just being able to hit a button and instantly search the internet through Bing, plus the cute backgrounds are always good! My only gripe with these buttons is the location. I have accidentally hit the Windows button and back buttons a number of times. A functionality lock would be good, so that you could disable perhaps the Windows button when in a full screen app.

The onboard keyboard is responsive and great to use, and I’m already texting and typing like a 90 word per second secretary! I prefer using it in a landscape fashion as opposed to portrait, as it frees up a tiny bit of extra key space. There’s no landscape support for Facebook though, which I really didn’t like. For all you twitheads out there, you’ll be happy to know that the Twitter app does support landscape typing.

With all this functionality and awesomeness, I am a bit disappointed with the battery life. I’ve had to charge the device twice within the 19 hours I’ve had it, however I thrashed it with constant Facebook, SMS’ing, phone calls, Twitter and even a session of Rocket Riot.

Software

The Windows Phone 7 user interface is amazing – almost perfect in fact. I’ve used iPhones in the past and I hate the “simple” interface, and I didn’t really like the app-centric approach that Apple has essentially taken with their devices. Microsoft has cut through all of that and completely shook up the general interface and it’s paid off big time. Microsoft and HTC has billed this as “your phone”, and it really is. You can move tiles around, delete tiles, just do whatever you want to give yourself the best experience possible.

Everything revolves around a number of “hubs”, the main one being the People Hub. From here all your Facebook and Windows LIVE contacts are culminated into a one stop location for social networking. Comment, upload, like, you can do it all from here. I’ve been mainly using the Facebook app, but if you’re on the run and you want to check your friends in a quick and easy manner, well the People Hub is definitely the way to go.

The People Hub might sound complicated, but that’s the Windows Phone 7 experience – it isn’t. Everything is simple, straight up, it’s honestly the easiest to use system I’ve seen on a mobile. Setting up the People Hub is as simple as entering your Windows LIVE ID and it’s done. No more entering in 300 accounts, then finding some don’t work. Unfortunately the People Hub lacks Twitter support, however it could be introduced during the January 2011 update (fingers crossed). I was disappointed to see no MSN Messenger application, which is surprising considering the huge social network involvement of the Mozart.

The app market is fairly stark at the moment, but I heard during the Telstra conference that there’s currently 15,000 developers, so I wouldn’t expect that bare market to be bare for much longer. I like the official social networking apps, specially Facebook, however the Twitter one seems to be slow at times. The biggest feature of the Windows Phone 7 apps is Xbox LIVE. Microsoft has done an amazing job of incorporating Xbox LIVE into the device, and it works flawlessly. Want to pimp your avatar with new clothes? Go ahead and do it on your way to work. Check your messages, brad to friends, it’s all possible on your Mozart and any Windows Phone 7 device.

Not all of the games include Xbox functionality, however all the Microsoft ones do and they’re amazing. I literally can’t wait to see what happens with this, and best of all, the games are decently priced which has surprised me – no offense Microsoft.

All in all, the phone is amazing. After a few more days I will be doing some in-depth tips and tricks, and including some of my favorite features. I will say this though, Microsoft is back and in a big way.

Make sure to follow the talk of all the social reviewers via the hashtag; “#TelstraWP7″. All the guys and girls in the program are awesome and will be happy to answer any questions or queries you may have. Check me out on Twitter: @DrjftGaming and FaceBook.